Getting To Work – Smarter Travel Options

Getting To Work – Smarter Travel Options

Those of us who travel to work by car in the mornings can often get caught in traffic, in particular with upgrades happening at various locations around Sligo

being late for work or school isn’t a great start the day, so what about the alternatives?

it’s true that in ireland our public transport system in general leaves a lot to be desired. better timetabling of buses and trains to enable commuters to get in and out of urban areas at times that coincide with the working day surely can’t be that difficult to arrange. investment in new trains is badly needed, as we know from experience on the sligo-dublin line, but this will require long term planning and investment to fix.

the idea of having park and ride facilities on the edge of town is something that has worked in the past in ferrying large amounts of people in and out from major events like the fleadh cheoil. could this be done more regularly to accommodate the 11,000 or so people who commute to sligo from the countryside every day for work? 

a recent study undertaken by john o’flaherty of sligo county council and brian mccann of it sligo looked at sustainable european transport models and how they might form the basis for smarter travel options for sligo.

part of this included a period of public consultation, enabling commuters and other stakeholders to give voice to their concerns about the current system and how it might be improved, and within a framework that would impact positively on the environment. 

the results of this feedback were unsurprising, and respondents suggested that there are lots of reasons why transport doesn’t work as well in this county – and nationwide - as it does elsewhere. poor infrastructure, lack of long term planning, financial constraints are some of them. 

a lack of segregated cycle lanes, commuter rail services, a fragmented bus service, traffic congestion, and uncoordinated traffic planning and management are some of the challenges we need to address. a positive step forward has been the introduction of local link bus services, which have been of benefit in reducing our reliance on cars. 

in the face of climate change we have to develop coordinated, long term thinking to enable commuters to find more efficient ways of getting about, and this may involve completely revising how we have traditionally made our way to and from work and school. 

but while long term planning of sustainable transportation models is at the heart of all of this, what about short term steps each of us can take to make personal changes and develop more environmentally friendly ways of getting about? 

while people living in rural county sligo are likely to have to rely on the car for the foreseeable future to get around, those of us who live closer to town or in nearby villages could consider the alternatives.

walking is the simplest option for those who live in urban areas and where a commute to work not only takes out the uncertainty about time management, but also ensures you arrive to work refreshed and ready for the tasks that lay ahead. 

sligo has over 40km of cycle lanes, connecting some of the major urban areas around town like strandhill and rosses point as well as other routes that connect to it sligo and elsewhere. however it isn’t always the case that these cycle lanes are as effective as they should be and sligo county council acknowledges that work needs to be done to enhance and improve them. but a significant problem is the issue of motorists being unwilling to share the road with cyclists. any day i cycle to work, there is a constant concern that you are invisible to certain motorists, not to mention people who park in cycle lanes, effectively blocking them and causing a hazard to other road users. cyclists themselves need to be aware of their own behaviours, obeying traffic lights, not undercutting traffic and ensuring they wear high visibility clothing to make themselves more visible to other motorists. 

what of car pooling? in particular on the school run, it is a common sight to see one adult accompanied by one child in a car. why not team up with other local families to take turns, getting you off the hook on certain days and ensuring cars are full heading in at the start of the day. 

in this green aware sligo campaign, we want to hear from members of the public and get their feedback on what they think about various issues relating to the environment and smarter travel is just one important one. we all know about climate change and the scale of change we need to make to ensure the positive future of the planet. but we have to approach the challenges with constructive ideas as to how to address these and other challenges that lie ahead. we invite you to email to give voice to your concerns and to raise the issues that matter most to you